Principle No. 10: Sharpen your focus on the positives and nurture them. You choose the lens through which you see the world.
Everybody loves the sunshine. It’s an eternal truth. In Washington, more than anyplace I’ve lived, when the sun is out, people are outside and active. When the sun is absent, we retreat inside only to reemerge when the sunshine returns. You choose the lens through which you see the world. It is the conversation that I have with young people dozens of times each day. We are in control of what we choose to focus on during the course of the day. We could focus on the negatives or we could shift and fix our focus on the positives. We must make a conscious decision to magnify the golden moments, the sunshine in the day, so that they overpower the darkness that can easily overtake our focus.
Here’s a typical scenario…A staff member stops you and says, “I need your help. He dropped his paper in the hallway and won’t pick it up.” To you, it’s a small issue, but for this person it is an act of treason and the only options are deportation or life imprisonment. Frustration and fatigue become the magnifying lens that transforms a simple sheet of paper into a nuclear warhead whose very presence in a hallway threatens the safety of the free world. But I’m certain that in the course of the day, this young man has made some great choices and finished strong in a number of small victories. Let’s find a way to celebrate those golden moments rather than magnifying his shortcomings in his moment of frustration. Instead of feeding his moment of darkness, let’s take every opportunity to celebrate in the sunshine.
I believe that we thrive when we operate from a paradigm of growing, nurturing and developing talent. When we shift from judgment to a mindset of acknowledgement, we open up our lives to receive the many good things that come to us with their own scratches and bruises. The question is whether we can see past the scratches, scrapes and bruises to see the beauty that can only be revealed when we step outside in the sunshine.
The same holds true when we are looking at adults. We could choose to focus on what’s lacking, but we grow as a team and as a system when we recognize and nurture the strengths that people have. We can grow the areas lacking, but we need those strengths they already possess to push us along. Then we determine how we can leverage those strengths to support our work. We also put others at ease when we start to shift our focus toward success and strengths and away from a deficit mindset. Each day we choose where to place our magnifying glass. I want
to magnify beautiful things. Everybody loves the sunshine.
Soundscape: Everybody Loves the Sunshine by Roy Ayers